tv Your Business MSNBC August 9, 2014 2:30am-3:01am PDT
we traveled here to the famous fisherman's wharf in california because of a letter we got from one of our viewers. he was worried about his father's business need add makeover. we assigned our experts to swoop in and shape things up. that's coming up next on a special edition of "your business." ♪ >> narrator: small businesses are revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to help. that's why we are proud to present "your business" on
msnbc. ♪ hi, everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg and welcome to "your business." today we have a really special story for you. it started with a writer's plea to help his parents who owned several jewelry stores find a way to retire. we got our "your business" make jober team and headed out to the california coast. i'm here in california with the "your business" makeover team to answer a call from one of our viewers. his family has been in the jewelry business on the famous monterrey fisherman's wharf for more than 15 years, and now, he says, they need our help. let's go give this business a makeover. >> you must be joe. hi, joe.
i'm j.j. ramberg from "your business." it's so nice to meet you. joe's business monterey bay silver, is one of four independent jewelry stores right next to each other that he and his wife operate. >> you must be mary. first of met joe, know you. it is so nice to meet you. we are thrilled to be here today. >> i'm thrilled to have you. >> okay. so i saw the silver store. what's the name of this one? >> this is morning star pearls. >> there's a pearl shop targeting older women, and a silver shop targeting younger ones. >> and what is this? >> this is called splash. 7 >> it is less about an age group and more about fun and then the most recent store called "everything must go" filled with various leftovers at closeout prices appealing to bargain hunters of all ages. >> how did this happen? how is it that you have one jewelry store one after another? is it space kept opening up? >> i don't really know.
it just sort of progressed that way. i never plan very much. >> the reason we're here is that your son wrote us a letter. my parents gave everything to give to us so we would have a leg up, and have never asked for something in return. they ever both 64 and 65 years old without a retirement nest egg to rely on. it kind of sounds like you guys your whole life have kind of flown by the seat of your pants? >> it is true. of course. >> is that how you see it too? >> you are making a nice living but if something happened tomorrow, you don't have anything put away yet. >> yeah. i think it is time to think about that. >> planning for the future has never been joe and mary's style. with retirement on the horizon, they now suddenly need a strategy. we came in to give them one. >> well, on behalf of your children, then, i am excited to get this team in here. i know you have been talking to them, and have them tell you what they thought through for
your business so at some point you guys can retire. >> oh, my god. >> now, it is time to get to work and transform this free-flowing business into a rock-solid retirement nest egg. >> joe, the s.w.a.t. team is here. >> hi. how are you doing? >> they got me all caught up on your business. they have lots of great stuff for you. so i'm going to leave them to it and i can't wait to see what happens from all of this. >> wonderful. okay. >> good luck. >> our first expert was chris myers. he's the denver-based founder of bodi tree financial software. >> what we went ahead and did was sync up your katieing system, quick books, with bodie tree which is our product here, which will give you a broad overview of your business. >> chris ran joe's numbers and they're good, but he found with just a few small tweaks, the valuation could increase exponentially. >> a few small adjustments that are actually pretty easy to do, we'll see that you can actually create quite a bit more value in the business.
we can go from the 700s all the way up to $1.2 million just by making a very small change in how you do that. >> with chris's analysis of joe's financials, together, they created a road map to boost the value of the business. >> what do we need to do? >> women, that's what helen is here for. she is going to take this road map and translate it into something tangible. >> retail sales expert helen bowlwick. a partner at san francisco-based newport group. she advises ceos at top national retail chains. >> as i looked at your overall business, the silver business is doing almost half of your total sales. >> true. >> okay? but your silver business has about 70% of the inventory. do you need all of this? do you need them all? >> the way i have always done it is overdo it in terms of certain items, but i like to be -- if somebody wants a chain, i've got them all.
>> like many entrepreneurs, joe has always believed that more selection means more sales. but that's not how helen sees it. >> i've been a buyer for the largest retailer in the world. that's macy's. everything we did there and everything that i learned was about reducing your assortments, not expanding them. >> as they examined all the shops, it became clear each one has large amounts of unsold inventory. >> to make it easier for the customer to buy is to just narrow up some of this. >> narrow it up, huh? >> narp oh it up. >> helen's first recommendation -- get rid of the slow-selling merchandise, even at discount prices and use the cash to focus on what's hot and profitable. the problem was -- how to accomplish that? >> i would love to have i can get it down to 10 and whether it gets down to 3, then i can order more. because it pops up on a screen. that would be -- then i don't need that much inventory. >> of course you don't. >> without accurate inventory
tracking joe worries he won't know when he is out of the good stuff and is left with just the clunkers. >> here comes dawn. dawn roland. >> hi, everybody. >> that's where our expert, cpa, dawn roland of connecticut-based powerful accountinging comes in. >> oh, my goodness. >> wow. you're amazing. 7. >> you have a full-blown point of sales system. you have an actual touchscreen monitor, which is nice and easy, the full keyboard, cash register, computer. the software is already all installed for you all set to go. >> thanks to a generous donation, dawn got joe and mary fast tracked on their latest inventory control system. >> that is so cool. i have been dreaming of it for a long time. i never stepped into it. i was just a step away. actually. >> no more excuses, joe. >> no more excuses. >> you're going to know everything that sells every minute of the day. >> and you'll be able to share those numbers with your
suppliers, and they can then help you keep you in stock on the goods that sell. >> i am so excited. i'm so surprised. and i don't know. who do i hug first? where are the letters? who do i write? can i make them a lasagna? seriously. >> watch out. mary might be making more than one lasagna when she and joe see what the interior designers have drawn up for their business. joe can hardly wait to see what's coming next. >> i am excited to see what we have in store for you and what you to do with it. >> yeah, okay. we'll find out. i'm very excited to find out. yeah. >> we're not finished helping this family out yet. we have some big surprises in store for them. stay tuned to see what they are. more and more businesses are turning to instagram to reach younger demographics. here now are five ways to get the most out of your presence on the site, courtesy of
smallbiztrends.com. >> one takes better pictures. sites like popphoto.com and cio.com offer great tips on how to use your smartphone's camera to take viral wore shi shots. two, thek out your instagram statistics. it will show you information from the number of likes your photos get to the growth of your follower base. three, use relevant hashtags. before posting your image, search around for similar content to see which hash tags are likely to lead to the most aware nrz and engagement. four, give a behind-the-scenes shot. candid shots help personalize your brand, and, five, paeost a peak times. pay attention to the times during the day when your images receive the most likes and comments. use the trends to be sure you are posting when you are most likely to reach members of your audience. stick around. when we come back, we return to monterey, california, for the "your business" makeover. we bring in some architectural experts to show the dilecces how
to consolidate their four stores. we also have some other surprises for them. if i can impart one lesson to a new business owner, it would be one thing i've learned is my philosophy is real simple american express open forum is an on-line community, that helps our members connect and share ideas to make smart business decisions. if you mess up, fess up. be your partners best partner. we built it for our members, but it's open for everyone. there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum. this is what membership is. this is what membership does.
jerk people who like new ideas are not necessarily good day-to-day managers. as we saw earlier, joe and mary dilecce have been so busy with the day to day of running their business, they haven't had a chance to do any long-term planning. now, as they peep for their eventual retirement, they need help changing the direction of their company. a makeover team has already given them some advice. that was just beginning. we have a lot more in store for these small business owners. ♪ the "your business" makeover team has arrived in monterey, california. they're here to help these jewelry store owners optimize their business so it can support them in retirement. looking through their books and walking through you their store, chris myers, ellen bowick and dawn brolin have already make a lot of suggestions. >> the fact is j.j., it's a
great business. i mean, they're doing $1 million in 1,000 square feet, which is about $800 a square foot. most retailers would kill for that level of sales per square foot. >> the challenge, i think, is just joe's -- where he is at in his life right now. if he was 35, it would be a slam-dunk. it would be no issue. but in his early 60s, he's looking to retire. that's where it gets difficult. >> are they in a position right now where they can count on these stores to take them for take -- take care of them for the rest of their lives? >> no, i don't think so. he is going to have to find a way to get these businesses optimized and stabilized to step away, spend time with his grandkids and still see the revenue coming through. >> one way to boost the revenue occurred to helen when she first talked to joe and mary. she learned they get an extra discount on the high-end pearls because they buy them loose and string them by hand in the back of the shop. >> you're not buying the pearls
strung? >> no. does the cust mother know you're stringing the pearls? that's a big selling feature. >> if they ask. sometimes you can give the customer too much information. >> that makes you highly specialized, right? that is a real key selling point, something you can become known for. who is doing the pearl stringing? >> if you're doing -- where's francis? can we meet francis? let's go find francis. >> okay. let's go find francis. come on. >> francis? we need to gecht you out in front of the customer in the front of the store so that they can see you stringing these pearls. >> okay. >> they are going to love that. can you do that? >> uh-huh. i think i can. >> okay. we're going to work that out in some of our planning here. it's a pleasure. you are an artist, my friend. >> the next step, four shops, probably not the best thing. can we actually turn this into
one store with all the brands inside of a single location if we're able to do that, joe? it will reduce the overall payroll by two-thirds. >> that would be unbelievable. yeah. that's huge. yeah. that would be great. >> according to our team, if these guys are going to up the value of their business, then they're going to need to optimize it by consolidating all four locations into a single store. >> mary and joe, we have talked about how important it is to kind of bring this all under one roof. >> and so i think we've got a real surprise for you here. have a seat. >> interior designers, michael and amy, of the san francisco-based firm genzler, usually work on plans for large corporate clients. after looking over joe and ma ma ma ma ma
marpy mary's space and talking with them for the last few weeks, the designers are ready to present their ideas. >> what we are proposing is that we con dense those three spaces into one to give you efficiencies that we don't think you're having today. you're going to walk into the silver department and go past fashion and we have created what we call a shop and shop, which is going to be your pearl area. in the very back of the store, we've created and "everything must go" very condensed but very efficient. we've given joe an office. >> that looks wonderful. >> fantastic. that looks wonderful. >> off to a good start. >> the first thing we are going to notice. we have changed the name of your store. surprise. what we have chosen to do is name the new store, monterrey bay jewelry company. we think it captures everything you're all about. make sense? >> makes a lot of sense. >> you got that one. that's terrific. that's a good name, actually. >> terrific. mary and joe, we're going to start on this board, which is the view the customer sees when they first walk in. as you walk into the store, the very first thing you are going to see is an employee.
this is actually going to be francis stringing pearls. we believe in what we have referred to as retailtainment. in retail, there's this idea of theater, and of entertaining your customers. >> yeah. >> what's the round thing on the roof there? >> these are light fixtures. >> i see that puzzled brow. joe, they don't cost a lot of money. we have a source that creates them and has them brought up to code so you are complying with all the local jurisdiction requirements. >> no. i like them, actually. >> great. >> i think they look really neat. >> and they supplement the track light fixture we are putting on the ceilinging. when we looked at the packaging, we create add packaging system that we think is going to be wonderful and that your customers are going to just love. you can see in the actual shopping bag,
we took the gusset. this is a photograph of the monterrey bay. we applied it to the gusset itself. because shopping bags become a walking advertisement or billboard. they are going to walk around with monterrey bay jewelry company showing everybody the name of your store. >> why didn't we think of that? that's beautiful. thank you. as michael and amy were wrapping up, helen stepped up with yet one more surprise up her sleeve. >> joe and mary, one you of the things i know you are thinking about the expense of also doing this. coincidentally, i sit on the board of directors of one of the largest fixture manufacturers in the country, premier store fixtures, and premier would very much like to create those fixtures for you. so that's one expense you are not going to have to worry about. >> wow. thank you so much. >> oh, my. >> so what do you think? >> i can't believe it. i'm overdone, really. >> you are the best. both of you.
we're so -- so happy. >> it is a whole different direction. my theory was buy more, sell more. it's really not that way in terms of focusing the sale and putting the three stores together will save so many headaches in terms of overhead, totally a different direction but it changed our lives. i'm almost -- this is like a major life-changer. absolutely. i mean, i feel like inspired and ready to roll again. i feel like i'm 21. >> yeah. it's something we've been dreaming about, talking about, and now you have brought it to fulfillment. so it's really hard to just say a simple "thank you." >> joe and mary deleche are with us now from california. it is so nice to see you guys. >> it's so nice to see you, too, j.j. >> hi. >> i would love a progress report. so tell me where you are.
i'll list a few things. the name change, monterrey bay jewelry co. is it going to happen? >> it is in the works. yeah. i would say everything is in the works and progressing well. i mean, there's a lot of different fronts, from the remodel to the p.o.s. system, and, yeah. i think -- i think it will -- hopefully, we will have the run of summer here to really test all of the theories. >> did you start knocking down walls yet? >> yes, we did. yes, we did. everything is actually in process in terms of the remodel right now. >> basically, everything in the store, from the "everything must go" store is almost completely gone. >> are you getting rid of all these clunkers and making more room for the stuff that sells? >> exactly. and it's been really fun. >> yes. >> it's been great because i haven't had to buy inventory. it's kind of like a great experiment. all the people are just fantastic.
>> it was a fantastic team. joe, this point of sales system must change everything for you. because you were sort of buying in the dark before, and now you have real data. >> exactly. >> yes. it's an ongoing experience here, because we're still loading it. in this business i've got, there are so many items which makes it even more valuable, because it is so hard to track. it's not like maybe another store, but -- in the silver business, there's lots and lots of items. >> especially that we can eliminate so much inventory, and we love the ideas, chris, helen, amy, michael. they were so helpful. >> what has it been like for you to step back and get this group in there and say, okay, you need to do this, this, and this and then you can retire? it's really a whole change of attitude? >> yes. i've been a little hard-headed. >> no?
you? hard-headed? honey. >> so kind of like going -- yeah. but i always say, when something's the truth, you can't deny it, and i think that this, like, all of the theories are solid, and i hope -- so different than what i've done. you know, like the overloading the inventory, trying to carry everything, and just focusing on the good sellers, yeah. it makes sense. >> you know, i know your kids were really worried about you guys. they're so grateful for everything you've given them and want to make sure that you guys have a nice time in your retirement whenever that happens. and so good luck with continuing and finishing all of the changes, and we look forward to checking in with you again in a few months. >> oh, we're so excited for all to come together. that's -- that's our main focus every day. >> thank you so much. your small business' representation online and off-line is crucial to future success. if you want a way to improve what shows up when googled by
potential customers check out our website of the week. a do it yourself platform allowing you to quickly and simply manager online. submit profiles they want people to find when googled. the site walks you throughways to make your ways appear higher in search recalls. progress monitors and alerts set whenever results change. time to answer some of your business questions. get our board of directors in here to help. larpy chang a company that invests in high growth bootstrapped companies. and colleen debase, director of digital media at the story exchange a nonprofit media group providing stories about entrepreneurial women to partners like the "new york times." great to have you back. >> great to be here. >> glad to be here. >> first enploem benefits. >> the whole arena of benefits for many employees and my people
is changing a lot, and it's very confusing because of the costs involved. so the easiest way out for a small company is not to do anything. is this the right approach at this point in time? >> that's a good question and it's confusing, but i've got to say, it's always been complicated. benefits. so if you're inclination is to give benefits, don't cop out by not giving them. where sdw he even start? >> the fact it's complicated is not a good reason not to offer them. your business is as valuable as the people inside of it'sthe best people are going to require benefits. there's a small window in a young company the life you don't have to offer benefits but that ends quickly. >> where can you turn to uncomplicate it for him? >> one of the simplest things any business own ker do is to encourage employees to maybe go out and find their own individual policies, we're talking about health care. they can buy policies on the exchanges, the state or the federal exchange, or maybe go to an individual provider, and then offer to reimburse at least a
portion of that. you know, that way you're giving something to your employees without going through the massive setting up a plan, you know. you're not incurring all the administrative cost but at least doing something. at the very least, i would encourage him in do something like that and then maybe if things go well from there, and maybe things are going well with the company, he can then put a formal benefits program in place, but that's a good place to start. >> yeah. and also a bunch of companies, peos they're called to outsource this to, pay roll and benefits. there is an administrative fee to your point but it gets the headache out of your -- >> can you definitely outsource health care, retirement, but look at non-traditional benefits. google pioneered 20% rule. spend 20% of your time on personal projects. netflix pioneer, not having a true vacation policy. more flexible hours, non-financial things to do as a benefit. >> a great idea. >> move on to the next one. how to best invest money in your
business. i'm building my business based on the amount of clients i'm getting per month. my question to you is should i seek additional funding now to help jump start and grow my business in a big way or continue to use my profit from my business and put it back in? >> i'm going to start with you, larry. these are the companies that you look at. right? so bootstrapped high-growth companies. at what point do you say, we are interested in putting money into you? >> despite the fact that i'm an investor, i think the default response if you're running a profitable business is to use your profits to invest in the growth of your business. there's two criteria you should qualify to look for outside capital which is your market has to be big enough that it could support an investors in what you're going to raise. secondly, you have to know how you're going to spend it. you have to know you can acquire customers. know the channels. if you're not sure about that yet, it might be a little early to raise capital. >> i agree. >> that's a great point, right? >> yeah, yeah. she's asking, should i go out and seek funding?
well, she can try but whether she's going to get funding that might be a different story. judging from the looks of her company, it's probably named after herself, a consulting service maybe. it's probably not the type of high-growth firm someone like you would invest in. >> that's true f. she still needs early stages, it's going to be very hard to get a bank loan. with a bank, they always say, the one time you can get money is when you don't need money any more. that's when you finally qualify for a bank loan. if she is looking for funding, one option is crowd funding. a lot of people do kick-starter campaigns. maybe there's a specific project she can put her toe in. figure if she can raise money that way, and kickstarter, indy go go go-go, whatever the -- >> good to get a word out about your business. you usually have to put a video and profile up. it's a nice way -- >> to market it as well. the next one is a question about contacting people on social media. >> how do prospects and business
owners feel about financial services professional asking for connection on linkedin to stay connected and perhaps building relationship for future business together. >> i think that's a good idea. that's what linkedin is for, right? >> no. >> no? >> let's be clear. >> okay. >> that's my gut response, because i get queries like this on linkedin. i think any social media, particularly linkedin works best when it supplementing an existing relationship. you don't start the relationship on linkedin. especially for a financial services professional who wants to manage someone's money and that's a very intimate thing. you've got to get to know that person the old faxed way, in person or through a referral, and then you can connect on linkedin. >> i think you have to have one meaningful off-line interaction before you consider it. i would agree having a face-to-face meeting, even a really substantive phone call
before connecting on linkedin. >> great at vice. before we leave, you have a really neat thing going on on your site. >> i do. awesome. we always cover female entrepreneurs but recently put out a call to watch young women female aunt tra prat nurs. ten women to watch. these are amazing young women doing everything from -- they've invented removable wallpaper, rodeos for special need kids, they're doing techie stuff, like online scheduling tools. really amazing women. >> maybe there's some you want to invest in, larry. go check it out. great to see both of you guys. thank you so much for stopping by. >> thanks. >> my pleasure. thank you so much for joining us today. if you want to see any of the segments again, they're posted on our website openforum.com/yourbusiness. we put some web exclusive pieces up there as well. you can find us on twitter, it's @msnbcyourbiz.
we're on facebook and instagram, too. next week an own of a security guard company realizes her business is limited only by her imagination. >> i didn't have the scope right. and i think that's what stops a lot of small businesses, or at least keeps a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs where they are, is they don't realize the size of the opportunity that's out there. >> how a shift in attitude can change everything. till then, i'm j.j. ramberg. remember, we make your business our business. if i can impart one lesson to a new business owner, it would be one thing i've learned is my philosophy is real simple american express open forum is an on-line community, that helps our members connect and share ideas to make smart business decisions. if you mess up, fess up. be your partners best partner. we built it for our members, but it's open for everyone.
there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. rachel has the night off. we start with the top story in the country tonight, today, this week. that is the renewed u.s. military action in iraq. where there have now been multiple rounds of u.s. strikes on isis targets near the city of irbil. two separate predator drone strikes on a mortar position, location from which mortars were being launched as well as a strike from navy fighter jets that dropped eight 500-pound bombs on a convoy of seven isis vehicles. u.s. military's first strikes came early this morning, about nine hours after president obama announced he had authorized them. when two u.s. f-18 fighter jets